Two-Minute Lecture: What is the Conditional Tense? Part Two
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Two-Minute Lecture: What is the Conditional Tense? Part Two


In our last video on the conditional tense,
we reviewed the factual and predictive forms. In this video, we’ll review the speculative
form. The speculative tense is used for unlikely
possibilities, conditions that are contrary to fact, and events that did not happen. Each of these three instances is divided into
its own form and uses its own verb tense. Let’s start with Unlikely Possibilities: If I made a billion dollars, then I would
quit my job and do YouTube full-time. In the “If” clause, we use the simple
past. In the “then” clause, we use the conditional
tense—in this case, “would.” Let’s try another: If I ran a marathon,
then I would go to 7-11 afterwards. Starting to get the hang of it? Now let’s try Unreal Possibilities – ones
that contradict reality. If I were president, then I would end the
Muslim Ban. What’s different here? Well, if we were talking about something real
– say something that had happened – we wouldn’t say “were,” we’d say “was.” When I was president, I ended in the Muslim
Ban. See the difference? But, to show that the possibility is not real,
we say “were.” That would be true no matter the number and
person of our verb. Now let’s look at our third type of speculative
tense. This type is used for events that did not
happen and those that were impossible in the past. In both cases we use the past perfect tense. The what? The past perfect. The past perfect tense sounds complicated,
but basically it tells us what happened before the simple past. Simple past: He ran. Past Perfect: He had run. Let’s try an example: If I had written the essay yesterday, then
I would have gone out with my friends tonight. In this example, we used the past perfect
in the “if” clause and the past conditional in the “then” clause. Subscribe to Colburn Classroom and be on the
lookout for new videos.

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